From Walk-On To WR1: Devaughn Vele Ready To Shine For Utah
SALT LAKE CITY- Utah’s Devaughn Vele was not highly sought after as a freshmen. In fact, his journey with the Utes started as a walk-on in 2019 where he quickly turned heads. However, despite the continual buzz around his abilities, Vele has spent a good chunk of his career banged up and a bit of a mystery. Fans got a glimpse of Vele’s abilities in 2021, but like any good competitor he is ready to kick it up a notch.
Humble And Ready To Rumble
Part of Vele’s rise has come from the fact he was never handed anything. Out of high school he was overlooked which is how Utah ended up with their secret gem. Now on scholarship, Vele doesn’t take his former walk-on status for granted and is hopes it shows on the field in 2022.
Believe it or not @devaughn_vele started his @Utah_Football career as a walk-on no one knew about. He says he has kept that underdog mentality and thinks it’ll help him be productive for the #Utes come fall. #GoUtes pic.twitter.com/xZaHQ3AC1l
— Michelle Bodkin (@BodkinKSLsports) April 21, 2022
“There are a lot of things I could keep working on,” Vele said. “Things I can do to contribute to the team to be a better teammate, a better blocker and better receiver all together. As much as I love it- it’s really cool, but I don’t want to let it get to my head where I’m too comfortable and not working as hard as when I first walked on. I want to have the same mentality I had when I first walked on that I’m the underdog. If I keep that same mentality I know I can make the big strides I need to make for this fall season.”
The Rising To Vele Connection
One of the most positive observations to come out of spring is how well starting quarterback Cam Rising has been connecting with the 6’5″ Vele in practice. It’s been years since the Utes had a true go-to receiver and based off of spring ball it looks like they may finally have another one in 2022.
“I feel like we are in a good spot,” Vele said. “We still have a lot of room to improve, but I definitely feel like we are making the strides that we do need to make in order to be ready for the fall season.”
Not only has Vele been connecting well with Rising, but several other receivers as well. Vele noted the musings of whether or not the receivers could be a productive unit for the team or not really lit a fire under them as a group. This is great news considering offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig mentioned earlier in spring that they Utes really want to start targeting the perimeter of the field more in 2022.
“Confidence is a big factor,” Vele said. “I know there were little rumors here and there talking about the receiver group. There’s been some question whether we’ll be a productive group on the team. I feel like that definitely fired us up to make the big plays. We are the playmakers on the team. We are ‘Bomb Squad’ so we should be living up to that standard.”
Leaders Of The Pack
Along with Vele, fellow receiver Solomon Enis has been instrumental in rallying the receiver group and setting some expectations. Vele says they’ve seen the results in practice, but eventually it needs to start showing itself on game day.
“Me and Solo have tried rounding up the guys to understand that we should take that to fuel us,” Vele said. “Every time we come out here we have a chip on our shoulder knowing there are people doubting us, but we know what we are capable of doing. We’ve seen it on the field and we can prove it. These past couple of weeks we’ve been making those strides necessary to prove to everybody. As much as we’ve been doing very well, we’ve got more to prove. It’s one thing to do it on the practice field, it’s another to do it on game day when the lights are bright.”
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